Seema is a London based mythologist and a practicing storyteller. Seema lectures on the Kamasutra and is an acknowledged authority on Eastern Erotology. She also delivers courses on the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita, Tantric philosophy and the Mahavidyas.
The Mahavidyas are a group of 10 goddesses who represent supreme wisdom - knowledge of the reality that lies beyond the veil of illusion that we know of as 'this world'.
However the Mahavidyas are also the most bizarre and esoteric group of goddesses that you are ever likely to come across. I mean - how do you begin to explain a goddess who has cut off her own head and she stands there, holding it in her hands, she allows a stream of blood from her neck to feed that severed head while she herself balances on a young couple as they have sex on a funeral pyre? Or another who asks for offerings of polluted items from devotees who are themselves are in a stage of pollution? Or one who sits on a corpse while pulling out the tongue of demon? Another who has sex with a corpse on a funeral pyre, another who accepts semen as her offerings, one who is a hag like widow? There is even one who sits on a couch that is balanced on the heads of the 4 main male gods. What is the wisdom they they are trying to bring to us?
It is over simplification to say these goddesses represent the inextricable link between life and death and yet are we strong enough to plumb the real depths, the real truths they teach? The cult of the mahavidyas can be traced back to approximately 1000 AD - it was a revolutionary new theism envisioned with the female as the supreme being. Their worship is entirely tantric in nature and includes sexo yogic practices, cremation ground rituals, even necrophilia. They seem to turn every Hindu ideal on its head, even going so far as to dismiss the male consort - 'the godlike husband' - as irrelevant. The 'patriarch' was only there in the capacity of server and follower. But the problem is that many of the practices and philosophies, even the language of Mahavidyas worship is a heavily guarded secret and only available to initiates and so the irony is that the worship of the goddesses of supreme and ultimate knowledge is shrouded in a fog of ignorance and fear and mistrust